Archive for April, 2012

GUEST BLOGGER: Freelance Illustrator & Cartoonist – Britt Wilson

Freelance Illustrator, Britt Wilson

What can I say about this lady and her witty, whimsical (I love using that word, I even created this alliteration based around it) and wonderful work! Britt probably doesn’t even know it, but I’ve been following her blog in secret for a long time and admiring her illustrations and comics from afar! And not always from afar, I sometimes even approach her if I run into her at a show, and check out her latest books and goodies. One time she even had mini cupcakes! Her hand illustrated type BLOWS MY MIND. I want her to write all over my body with those mad skills! I have also been admiring her cat, Panties, for a VERY LONG TIME and I love him as though he is my own. I am honoured that he loves my catnip toys! We also share a love of mustaches, Twin Peaks, TED Talks… and Vicki Nerino (if you haven’t read Nerino’s guest blog post yet, get on it!) The 3 of us definitely shared at least one or maybe two laughs during the ol’ college days… and Britt tells a pretty good one below! Enjoy! 🙂

nerdbiskit: So, what’s the story? Who are you, and what do you do? How did it all start? Short bio!

Britt: It started when I was born. Hairy and jaundiced. A few years later I discovered crayons. That’s when my parents knew it was over. The chances their daughter ever had at a successful, normal life, were shredded and a little soggy, like the paper wrapper I ripped off those crayons. Move forward a bit more to now, with my BAA from Sheridan (received a scant year after the lovely nerdbiskit herself) which I placed lovingly in the envelope it arrived in, and promptly lost, I’m a freelance illustrator, cartoonist, and work the dreaded part-time day job to keep the other pursuits funded.

nerdbiskit: Why do you do it?

Britt: I do it because I am simply not good at anything else. Including things like “small talk” and “patience” and “tolerance” which are three essential traits for working an office job. I like the immense feeling of satisfaction I get after completing something difficult. And I like to be able to hold it in my hands, and say “I made this.”

nerdbiskit: What’s unique about you and what you do? What sets you apart from the pack?

Britt: We are all perfect little snowflakes or some shit like that, right? What makes my work different is all the different media it intersects/borrows from. I usually paint with my hands, and real paint in bright colours, reminiscent of children’s books, with very animated and lively characters. I’ve often been told I should have been an animator, but sucks to them, they draw the same thing all day. Also technology is allergic to me. My comics and graphic stories are also very animated, and though child-like in sophistication, they often contain enough violence that most parents give me dirty looks while they herd their children past my table at conventions.

I’ve recently also gotten into hand drawn type in a BIG way. I’ve always loved drawing letters, but I’ve started going at it like a mare in heat! In an attempt to improve my lettering skillz I’ve been fumbling my way through old-school calligraphy. Using a scratchy old nib and ink to address all my Christmas cards, and sometimes even my grocery lists!

AND, I’ve been doing pattern design for textiles or your desktop, whatever! I have my fingers in ALL the pies. My gooey fruit-fingers are what make me special.

nerdbiskit: What/who is your inspiration?

Britt: I have too many artists that I love and who’s work I gobble up like some sort of troll living under a fan-girl bridge. But also I am inspired by my friends. More precisely by my desire to be better than them. It keeps me working very hard. So far, most of them are still better than me, but that’s good, it keeps me motivated to keep going and trying new things.

nerdbiskit: What are some of your favourite things? (To do, to eat, to think about, etc.)

Britt: I’ve been swallowed whole by pinterest. It started because I got engaged, and a friend recommended it for keeping track of all my ideas, and the next thing I know, ADDICTION. If I ever manage to leave my desk, I love to walk around Queen West (in Toronto, where I live) and go to all the little cafés nearby. I have an insatiable sweet tooth, and love nothing better than good coffee, a pastry of some kind, and a comic book in my hand.

I love to BAKE. I don’t get to do it very often outside of Christmas-time lately, but cookies, cupcakes, PIES, I am THERE.

Recently I can’t stop watching nature themed TED talks. And Twin Peaks, and Futurama, and historical dramas, and audiobooks. I listen to audiobooks while I work, and I go through them like crazy. Currently, I’m listening to “The Unbearable Lightness of Being.”

nerdbiskit: How do you know Lisa Bell of nerdbiskit? Do you think her mustache obsession is a little ridiculous?

Britt: Lisa and I went to Sheridan together, I transferred there partway through the program from OCAD, and was scared to death when I walked into class and this loud, tall (I’m short), fashionista with giant hair and very red lips was sitting there probably saying something gross and/or inappropriate. I remember one day, towards the end of our last year (I had to come back for 3 random credits the next year) we were all sitting around goofing off during one really stupid class, and Lisa had an orange shopping bag with two clementines in it. I believe it started off with the doodling of balls all over Vicki Nerino’s sketchbook, but it ended up with Lisa dangling the bag of clementines between her legs and thrusting around to make them swing back and forth. I thought I ruptured something that day. Hopefully that isn’t too awful a tale to tell. Lisa, I give you permission to edit that. Here’s an alternate version: I like Lisa, she has pretty hair and my cat likes her cat toys. I also like moustaches, so I think she’s alright in the head, mostly. (note from nerdbiskit: I KEPT BOTH STORIES – chose your own preference! I liked both!)

nerdbiskit: That about wraps it up! Check out more of Britt’s work via the links below!

xoxo Lisa

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Wizard World Recap!

Thursday Things I Dig is going to be replaced with a recap of Wizard World Comic Con which was in Toronto last weekend! Oh man, so many good times… where do I start! Well, it was really great to meet a lot of Twitter pals in person! That was definitely a highlight for me, being able to put faces to some names! It was also amazing to make so many new pals, and might I say that the guests and fellow vendors at this particular show were among the nicest, most supportive and friendliest group I’ve ever encountered! I received so much love and positivity over the full 2 days, I honestly felt like I was in heaven – oh yah, that combined with the fact that I got to meet THE HONKY TONK MAN!!! He is an 80’s wrestler that looks like Elvis… AMAZING. He told me that we made a great couple, and I think he might be right (I’m the one on the left)… judge for yourself. (I did this for you, mom!)

I didn’t really get to leave my table unfortunately, I was solo for the weekend, but I was lucky to have a very good friend of mine let me borrow her mom on Saturday afternoon – she brought me cookies and tea and sat beside me and knitted while I sewed – it was pretty fantastic. We totally bonded and there was lots of talk about cute boys and also we hugged a lot. (Don’t be jealous, Heather, your mom still loves you more!)

Here’s my table set up! The most epic one yet!

I was also asked to do 2 interviews! AHH! So my interview skills may be lacking, but I’ve only ever done 2 before in my life so I’m allowed to be a little awkward. Mostly we talked about mustaches. I promise I’ll work on some better material and work in some ‘stache jokes for the next ones… Anyway, one interview was done by MEGASHAUN from The Electric Playground – he is one of the nicest, hippest dudes, pretty much in the world. It was pretty impossible to say no to an interview with him. I promise to share if it’s not terribly embarrassing 🙂

The second was for Get Your Geek On! by KStew, which will be airing this Sunday, April 22 from 7pm – 10pm. I’m very excited to check it out! It was a pleasure to meet this lovely and fun lady!!! 😀

I also want to give a shout out to a few other fantastic peeps!

  • My show neighbours, who were fantastic table sitters when it was time for a pee break – also fun to chat with during slow times! (There weren’t too many!) Ink’d Well Comics

  • My new pal Niki from Peachy Keen Pets. Her and I are plotting some world domination type stuff for future cons… I will keep you posted!
  • The fantastic artist, and well dressed gentleman, Adam Tupper (below)

AND I CAN’T FORGET MY AMAZING MUSTACHE FANS!!!! I HEART YOU ALL SO MUCH! (Check out my entire mustache fan album on Facebook!)

Thanks to everyone who stopped by and can’t wait until the next one! Well, the next show is not a con, but an outdoor market called First Sunday Stroll in Fonthill on June 3rd… super stoked! Come visit me – bring tea & cookies!

xoxox Lisa

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GUEST BLOGGER: Button Designer Extraordinaire – Brandon Wagner of TheBRWDesigns

Button Extraordinaire, Brandon R. Wagner

I am excited to share this story of an up and coming sensation in the world of buttons, (and soon possibly plush?) both worlds which I myself love very much: introducing my very first MALE guest blogger, Brandon R. Wagner of TheBRWDesigns! I was going to focus on featuring ladies only on my blog, but this young gentleman’s determination, motivation and talent – at a ripe young age of 16 – simply cannot be ignored. I only see amazing things in store for him. His world domination may even far surpass mine, as he certainly has a head start, and I wish him nothing but the absolute best of luck! I am excited to follow him along his journey. Enjoy and be inspired!

nerdbiskit: So, what’s the story? Who are you, and what do you do? How did it all start? Short bio!

Brandon: I started making buttons with doodles and collages when I was only 12, after begging my mother for a button machine of course. My love for selling and business ethic goes back to when I was in primary school; I’ve always been a business man. After being elected president of my business class in high school, and even winning a trophy for persuasive speeches I’ve realized I not only have a love for art, I have a passion for business. I left public school and started homeschooling in tenth grade to focus on my business, and it’s been amazing since I launched. I’m at the post office twice a week shipping out all sizes of orders. I recently started selling on Etsy and things have been more than amazing. I also sew and plan on making plushes a part of my product line soon!

nerdbiskit: Why do you do it?

Brandon: Why do I do it, simple but strong question. I myself, represent a strong crowd of adolescents in a way. Anime lovers, mustache lovers, cute and kawaii lovers. I could rarely find a shop that would make me go WOW this is ME. So I made one. Also, I want to make a great living for myself and pay off my parents’ home and part of my college. That’s expensive stuff!

nerdbiskit: What’s unique about you and what you do? What sets you apart from the pack?

Brandon: Everything in my store connects, as in my style pulls through with everything I have. Not just products, but descriptions, the way I treat customers and big orders. I’m making my business a part of my life. I’m not just Brandon, I’m Brandon with the business.

nerdbiskit: What/who is your inspiration?

Brandon: Looking at my style one may say “He’s inspired by Japanese kawaii culture” but that’s not true. I do like kawaii, but it’s not my thing. I like anime and do lots of fan art, but apart from that my inspiration comes from my everyday life. Drawing mustaches on my finger, to quotes I have tattooed on my body. I spend hours each day on minecraft, a game, creating worlds and themes that string nicely together. I see that pattern in my shop.

nerdbiskit: What are some of your favourite things? (To do, to eat, to think about, etc.)

Brandon: Writing – I love creating worlds that I can call mine and call all the shots in. I love monsters, even the whole monster in your closet idea fascinates me. I’m not so much of a mall rat like most of the kids my age, I’m more of a hiker and dog walker (when I do go out). Though I would rather spend time at home, focusing on school, business and my amazing family. Family would have to be my favorite thing…. Okay maybe mustaches or Ellen. Hmm…

nerdbiskit: How do you know Lisa Bell of nerdbiskit? Do you think her mustache obsession is a little ridiculous?

Brandon: I met Lisa on twitter and went “OH MY GOSH WE’RE GONNA BE BEST FRIENDS.” After we saw each others style, which are so different yet so similar, we ended up befriending each other. Nothing fancy! Living in a separate country and all! The first thing we talked about was our love for mustaches so… hehehehehee

nerdbiskit: That about wraps it up! I am so excited to see what lies ahead for this guy! Such an inspiration 🙂 Check out his super fun button designs and follow his journey to world button takeover via the following links!

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Just some stuff…

Man, I wish I had a theme song for Thursday Things I Dig! Alas, we will have to suffer through another weekly post together, without one. And if anyone wants to make me a jingle and donate it to my blog, please feel free 🙂

Another busy week! Aren’t they all? I have a show this weekend, Wizard World Comic Con in the ol’ T-dot so I’m excited for that, and then I am taking a month off of shows for some personal time, to build… and a trip to Europe! Which leads me into my Thursday Things I Dig!

1. LONDON IS BOOKED! I will be heading over to England in May with some peeps for a wee vacation! I also have a friend in Scotland that I am hoping to meet up with while I am over there, though I don’t have a whole lot of time. I’ve never been, so I am pretty excited! Naturally, I’ve already scoped out the best affordable vintage shopping areas. I like to buy a dress every time I visit some place new, so I’m excited to share what I find in London when I return.

2. WIZARD WORLD Comic Con this weekend! Here’s a little sneak peak at my set up. I hope it’s a good show, I remember the past few years have been great and I have a nice full 8′ table all to myself this time around, so my expectations are high! But not too high. You never know how it could turn out. Anyway, I have a table companion on Sunday, but will be solo on Saturday so am a little nervous about what to do when I need a pee break! Haha. Feel free to come visit me, and please offer to watch my booth so I can pee? 🙂

3. I acquired this super sweet vintage sewing basket over the long weekend. It used to belong to my grandma, and when I was up North visiting my parents my mom passed it my way! It’s even filled with tons of thread and needles and other good stuff!

4. I watched an amazing documentary on Kevin Clash, the puppeteer behind Elmo. His story was so inspirational and made me feel like a kid again, in that I can do anything I want, and be anything I want to be. It was awesome. Also working at the Jim Henson studios, making puppets and having access to drawers full of fur, mustaches, eyes, etc… INCREDIBLE. What a dream. I want to be Kevin Clash.

5. Someone sent me this via Twitter earlier this week: COWBOY COMB and it is easily one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. Particularly the gold one, for only $100. If only I had a ‘stache, I would buy it up in a second. But since I don’t, someone also shared this Build-A-Beard with me, downloadable and cut-out-able beards! This will just have suffice for now.

6. What is this I found? Tetley PERK? A new tea that claims to have all the caffeine content of a coffee? I’m excited to test it out tomorrow morning.

7. Oh, and last fun thing, I received a happy button testimonial from a fantastic customer AND SUPER COOL COMEDIAN who you should check out, Fat Apollo, celebrity:
“Got my buttons! Easily the best I have ever ordered!”

THE BEST!?!? From me? Celebrity endorsed? Well okay, I’ll accept it. And appreciate the feedback. Thanks to Mr. Apollo who gave me permission to use his awesome quote 🙂

I guess that’s it! I have to run off and do some last minute crafting to top up my stock before the show this weekend. Here’s hoping it’s a good one! You can follow my live show posts on Facebook or Twitter 🙂

xoxo Lisa

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GUEST BLOGGER: Card Designer – Rovena Tey

Card Designer, Rovena Tey

I am excited to share this lovely lady’s work with you as my guest blogger this week! Rovena makes fantastic handmade cards out of pretty papers, and I am glad that my internet stalking and admiration did not initially scare her off (she’ll explain below.) Since she is a local crafty lady, I hope to see her at one of my Ladies Crafternoons – coming up soon! Hopefully she can share some of her fantastic ideas on how to further fill my life with mustachey-goodness. Oh, and don’t forget to LIKE her Facebook page… you’ll be entered into a giveaway!) Enjoy! 🙂

nerdbiskit: So, what’s the story? Who are you, and what do you do? How did it all start? Short bio!

Rovena: I am Rovena, the owner of Handmades by Rovena – a web shop of stylish cards for smart and savvy people, I love being creative and paper crafting is my passion. All the magic happens at my home studio in Milton, Ontario, Canada. My style can be described as simple and modern, with a retro flair but no matter what, I always try to merge design and colour in perfect harmony. Besides cards, I also make gift tags, bookmarks, and pictures as well as invitations by custom order.

I am so honoured that Lisa has invited me to be a guest blogger for nerdbiskit and this is my story.

It all started when I graduated from university and I was clearing out old textbooks. Then I saw it, a red report cover and some shiny wrapping paper, which I recycled into a holiday greeting card using just a pen, a knife, and some glue.

In the meantime, I had started working a 9 to 5 day job in an office that required lots of reading, writing, and some nerdy stuff that had something to do with the reason why I had gone to university in the first place. You see, I needed to pay bills. But I still made cards because I loved it! When I got married, I made my own wedding invitations.

After 7 years of making cards and many more tools later, I had the opportunity in 2010 to showcase my paper creations at the McMaster Museum of Art and sell my work at a few local craft fairs. And, they were a BIG hit! I was finally ready to share my creativity with the rest of the world. In July 2011, my web shop was launched in the midst of my maternity leave.

Yes, I am also a mother, to the best boy in the world. And in case you are wondering, I still work at this 9 to 5 day job, now that my maternity leave is over. But I dream that maybe one day, it will just be Handmades by Rovena.



(Psst… if I reach 100 likes on Facebook, I’m going to celebrate with a giveaway!)

TWEET: @HandmadesRovena

INSTAGRAM: @handmadesrovena

nerdbiskit: What/who is your inspiration?

Rovena: These days, I find myself inspired by everything around me, from places I go to nice things I stumble upon. I often have no idea when a new idea is going to come but when it does come, it energizes me to the core. Some ideas come charging at me so fast that I have to run and find paper so that I can scribble down notes and sketches before they become lost forever. At other times, it’s like finishing a jig saw puzzle where bits and pieces come together slowly over time – these types of ideas never make any sense in the beginning but they always do at the end.

nerdbiskit: What’s unique about you and what you do? What sets you apart from the pack?

Rovena: No two humans are alike, and I am unique because I am Rovena. What you might not know about me is that I never went to school for the Arts, so everything that I know about being creative originates from inside me. When I work, I am extremely detail oriented and I never rush, always taking my time with each creative piece at my hands. I am fortunate that I have the ability to simplify the most complicated mess and make it beautiful, which is reflected in the cards that I make.

nerdbiskit: What are some of your favourite things? (To do, to eat, to think about, etc.)

Rovena: My name is Rovena and I am a chocoholic. I’m also nuts for noodles, eating them that is. I’m not trying to sound like a clone of Lisa but I love polka dots and dresses too. My favourite accessory is the purse. My favourite flower is the orchid. My favourite number is 3. My favourite colour right now is turquoise (it may change with the mood). My favourite artist is Van Gogh. My favourite subject is Anthropology. I’m always in wanderlust. But most of all, I love getting lost in my world as I dream up ideas for my cards and bring them to life with my hands.

nerdbiskit: How do you know Lisa Bell of nerdbiskit? Do you think her mustache obsession is a little ridiculous?

Rovena: A few months ago, I noticed this girl following me everywhere from Twitter to Instagram. So I said hello! And that’s how I met Lisa. Then I started following her and learned that she is a fellow crafter who makes nice nerdy things. My favourite thing that she makes are her tote bags, particularly in the designs of Yoda, Leia, and Ninja.

Actually I think her mustache obsession is not ridiculous enough. She could be living in a house shaped like a mustache, she could be eating her meals out of a mustache-shaped plate or she could be sleeping on a mustache-shaped pillow. Unless she secretly does these things already!

One day soon, I hope I can meet Lisa in person, either at a craft fair or at crafternoon, a ladies crafting session that she hosts.

nerdbiskit: That about wraps it up! Thanks so much for your time Rovena, and I am looking forward to meeting you & seeing your fabulous cards in person, too! At the next crafternoon I hope 🙂
xoxo Lisa

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Cool Crap From This Week!

Hey guys! HAPPY LONG WEEKEND AHEAD! I am so stoked for an extra day of nerdbiskiting! So excited in fact, that I opted out of a nap to do this blog and make buttons and wrap up at Etsy order… I heart having 2 full time jobs! NO TIME TO REST! Surviving off caffeine! I am definitely going to burn out sooner or later… just wait for it. My head may explode. Don’t worry, I’ll take photos and blog about it when it happens…

Here are some things I dig this week:

1. LONG WEEKEND!!! WOO! I am driving a few hours up North(ish) to visit the fam jam. And will be hitting up a few of my fave vintage stores in Sauble Beach while I’m there! New dresses coming up!

2. I received a weekly set of mustaches in the mail as a thank you from my previous guest blogger, Sabrina. She is the best! As if the ‘staches weren’t awesome enough, her book, The Healer, arrived the very next day. It’s in my to-read pile! I was pretty excited that these staches arrived just in time for my April Stache-A-Thon campaign! All you have to do is LIKE me on Facebook and post a photo of a stache. Any stache. You wearing it, or a celebrity, or a mustache item… whatever! Do it and you can win $20 worth of merch from my Etsy shop! Here is some mustache inspiration for you:

I was also able to work a mustache into our “photo day” at work. Which is a corporate head office. So this is a major accomplishment very much deserving of recognition! 🙂 *proud*

3. Exciting news: (at least for me!) I’ve been asked to illustrate 2 children’s books. One is about a dragon and a flea, the other a squirrel and a pumpkin patch… I AM SO STOKED. I haven’t exercised my book illustration skills in a while! It is a lot more work than designing my next character for a button, tee, or tote bag BUT I’m sure I can skip out on a show or two to make time. It’s something I absolutely have to do!

4. My new promos are ready to send along to First Sunday Stroll! They’re going to be included in some swag bags 😀

5.  This story about how Ryan Gosling saved a woman’s life absolutely made my week. What a hero. And a real human being! ❤ I just sent a Gosling bottle opener over to Finland so he is definitely loved by ladies around the world! AND HE MIGHT EVEN SAVE YOUR LIFE. Gosling to the rescue!

6. Heather from Needlings and I discovered the most delicious chai lattes last night on our tea date! If you’re in Hamilton, visit The Bean Bar and get it in ya! So tasty.

Ok, that’s it, now I am off to enjoy my long weekend with lots of sewing for the next show on April 14 & 15, Wizard World Comic Con! I promise I will take a break. Probably even tonight, to go see The Hunger Games!

Have a good one pals!

xoxoxo Lisa

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GUEST BLOGGER: Portrait Artist & Illustrator – Melissa Stewart

Portrait Artist & Illustrator, Melissa Stewart

This is one talented lady! I’m so excited to hear that she’s started her own portrait business, and I will be seeing her at an upcoming market in June –  First Sunday Stroll! It’s always fantastic to see a familiar face around at shows 🙂 We share a love of red wine and dads with mustaches! One day, probably not too far away, I will be hitting her up for baby shower gifts when my gal pals start poppin’ them out!!! Her work is beautiful 🙂 ENJOY!

nerdbiskit: So, what’s the story? Who are you, and what do you do? How did it all start? Short bio!

Melissa: My name is Melissa (a.k.a. Missy) and I have a loving husband, Jason and an adorable 1 year old who we like to call Betsy. I am a stay-at-home mom as well as a stay-at-home portrait artist. My business is called Missy’s Portraits and I specialize in painting portraits of babies, children, families and pets. I started my business when I was on maternity leave. I knew I didn’t want to go back to my full time job – I didn’t want to miss seeing my little girl grow up. I had always wanted to be an artist and earn a living doing it – and painting is my true passion. So I pursued my dream and launched Missy’s Portraits with much support from my loving family.

All images copyright Melissa Stewart, 2012. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use of any materials is strictly prohibited.

nerdbiskit: What’s unique about you and what you do? What sets you apart from the pack?

Melissa: I find that there aren’t really a lot of artists out there who specialize in portraits of children which is what I think my business is unique. Children are so interesting to paint – so much innocence in their eyes, so happy about all the little things in life. Looking at a painting of a child just makes you smile. There is also a uniqueness in the technique I use when I paint. I paint with oils on masonite board, not canvas – but I before I begin the portrait, I put thick layers of acrylic paint on the masonite to give the surface a texture that emulates a canvas. Some people can’t tell the difference.

nerdbiskit: What/who is your inspiration?

Melissa: My inspiration is my daughter. The first portrait I did after launching Missy’s Portraits was one of my little Betsy at 9 weeks old.

nerdbiskit: What are some of your favourite things? (To do, to eat, to think about, etc.)

Melissa: My favourite things (in order starting with my most favourite) are:

  • Jason and Betsy
  • My Mom, Dad and brother Mike
  • Painting
  • Playing the Piano – I am also a piano teacher
  • Singing in the shower
  • Drinking red wine
  • All you can eat sushi
  • Reading a good book

nerdbiskit: How do you know Lisa Bell of nerdbiskit? Do you think her mustache obsession is a little ridiculous?

Melissa: I know Lisa from Sheridan – we’re both artsy types. She became close friends with my roommate and friend Lindsay which is when I got to know her a bit better. I remember a fun time with Lisa – it was at Lindsay’s birthday party. Lisa bought Lindsay the craziest birthday gifts – including “inappropriate” straws, which were my favourite. I love that Lisa is the “mustache lady.” She’s a very unique person, I mean who else is there in this world who loves mustaches as much as Lisa does? My dad has a mustache (just a side note).

nerdbiskit: That about wraps it up! Gift ideas, anyone? Baby showers coming up perhaps? Get in touch with Melissa or see more of her work via the links below:

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