Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Illustration Friday: Canned

Canned Tuna = A-Okay
Canned Mermaid....

Okay, I wont even go there. Sorry for the unpleasant visual.

I wanted to come up with an illustration to fit in with this weeks Illustration Friday topic of "Canned," but I have to say that I've been a bit uninspired lately.

Gracie had drawn this gorgeous mermaid, and I couldn't wait to color her in, so I decided that maybe, just maybe I could tie her in with the IF theme for the week. Did I fail miserably? Yeah, probably. But I'm pretty happy with the final result of the mermaid, though!

Its no secret that Gracie loves mermaids. This ratty little mermaid doll, which I got for her from the Dollar Tree about a year ago (and is amazingly still intact, minus her tail fin which was bitten off by a shark) is to date, Gracie's favorite toy. This mermaid goes just about everywhere with my hot-pink cheerleading skirt wearing three year old.

And a scene like the one in the picture above, where Gracie is wearing her dress up clothes and twirling around the living room with her mermaid, is a very common scene in our household.

My mermaid-loving, cheerleader sure is cute, if I do say so myself.

And our mermaid illustration is now up in our collaborative shop, Tootsie and Grace.


Monday, July 28, 2008

Love for The Dreamy Giraffe

There are shops on Etsy that I love to go into every once in awhile and take a peek at what there is to offer. Maybe I buy something, maybe I wait until another day, but I certainly love to browse and see what is new.

And then there are the shops in which I visit on a daily basis, click and drool over every single item in shop while imagining pushing the "add to cart button" and purchasing it all guilt-free, and then force myself to leave because I start to feel like a creepy shop-stalker.

For me, The Dreamy Giraffe fits into the latter category. Last month I included the Crafty Superhero print in this blog post ... and ended up loving it so much that I couldn't help but buy a print to reside over my craft closet and save the day whenever I have a crafting disaster. She looks fab, doesn't she?

I have great plans for decorating a wall with prints for Gracie and Annelie's room. Here are a few of my favorites and ones I hope to have soon! And if you haven't taken a peek into The Dreamy Giraffe, DO IT NOW, without delay. And be sure to read the descriptions. You will be laughing, I assure you.

This is a Print of a Girl Who Does Not Speak French
(And a Snail Who Wishes She Did)

This is a Painting of a Fairy Who is Branching Out

This is a Painting of Merrie, the Girl Who Talked To Birds

This is a Painting of a Princess Who Says No Thank You to Warts
This is a Painting of a Girl Who Is Part Cookie MonsterThis is a Print of a Girl Who Made Ordinary Things Extraordinary


Saturday, July 26, 2008

I Smell Fahbulous, Dahlink

Its no secret that I'm a lover of all the Bath and Body goodies that Etsy has to offer. Actually, it is kind of funny because I once read that B and B products are (along with jewelry and supplies) the top selling items on Etsy. I thought, "who would buy soaps online?" But when I put together {this post} about all of the wonderful bath products I've bought on Etsy, I realized that I'm a total Etsy shopping bath junkie.

I discovered another shop the other day and I'm jumping for joy because I just got my super sweet smelling package in the mail yesterday and I can't stop sniffing it. My shopping started when I needed to replenish my deodorant stick. I had been using my Chai Tea deodorant stick from South Pacific Body (which smells amazing and is a super long lasting scent).

I wanted to try a new scent, however. Something sweet and summery. I found a Pink Lemonade deodorant stick from Cozy Moments and snapped it right up. I love it! It smells exactly like pink lemonade and I swear, I have never smelled sweeter!

I couldn't help but buy this Bath and Shower Cream Soap, once I discovered it in Cozy Moments shop. I used to go to Lush on a daily basis when I lived in Bath, England during my study abroad college program. My favorite scent from Lush was Rock Star and the body wash I found at Cozy Moments is the exact same smell. I swear, I can't put it down, it smells so good! And it brings back so many happy memories of England, meeting my husband, and traveling all around the UK with him.

I love how all it takes is simple sniff to have happy memories come rushing back.

And last, I had to grab this coconut scented shave bar. I hate shaving my legs. I'm sure I'm not alone in that!! I figured, if I gotta do it, I might as well try to enjoy myself as much as possible. So now, with my coconut shave bar, I hope to make shaving a sweet treat rather than an annoying moment filled with nicks and razor burn.

So, if you love soap, showering, and just straight up smelling delish, be sure to take a peek into Cozy Moments, where everything smells like a mouth-watering dessert.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Illustration Friday: Enough

Do you ever feel like you don't have enough? Not enough good luck, good fortune, wealth, happiness, or love?

Meet Maneki Neko, the Good Luck Cat. With his good luck charm and paw up in the air, you won't worry about having enough for long!

I'm working on a Japanese series, and my Maneki Neko cats will be the first finished pieces of the collection. This one is my finished illustration for Illustration Friday, as it suits the topic of Enough purrrrfectly. So far, this tabby cat is my absolute favorite, and I plan on having a print on the wall above my work space to provide good luck and good fortune whenever I create. I also have finished a white Maneki Neko cat with a lovely pink cherry blossoms background and have a black cat in the works. They are so cute and fun!

I'll be adding Maneki Neko, both the prints and originals, to my shop sometime next month, once my Japanese series if finished.


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Double Dipped Deliciousness

I got a surprise package in the mail the other day. Completely unexpected and completely WONDERFUL. I love surprises. Especially when the box they come in is labeled by Double Dipped Sweets, a fabulously delicious sweet shop on Etsy.

My double dipped surprise was from my friend Holly, aka Winklepots (whose hand-painted children's clothing and matching accessories, including the cutest korker bows on the planet - I own 5 sets- are the cutest I have ever seen) was the one who sent the surprise, and I made sure to call her on the phone, with a chunk of Almond Roca Caramel Apple shoved in my mouth, and let her know just how fat I was getting as a result of her treat. Sometimes, gaining weight is very, very worth it. Especially when the weight is the result of the most deliciously juicy granny smith apple smothered in thick, creamy caramel, rich chocolate and handfuls of crunchy toffee.


Take a peek into Double Dipped Sweets. I guarantee that any poundage added to your physique as a result, is totally worth it!

Her gift wrap is lovely and her apples are packaged wonderfully to ensure freshness. I was also thrilled to see an ice pack included, to keep the chocolate from melting in transit.

There is a very large variety of caramel apples to choose from, smothered in things like rice krispie treats, triple chocolate, chocolate candies, nuts, cookies, peanut butter and coconut.

In addition to caramel apples, Double Dipped Sweets has a large supply of popcorn, also smothered in all the goodies you find on the apples. This one featured in the S'mores popcorn, which is covered in milk chocolate, mini marshmallows and graham crackers.

You can also find a supply of double dipped pretzels and Oreo cookies, perfect for the upcoming holidays!!

If you feel like your waistline is getting a bit too small for your bikini, go ahead and check out this shop. You will not be let down, but you probably will drool all over your computer keyboard.


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Custom Cuteness

Meet Mittens. No Gracie didn't draw this, but some of you may just recognize who did!

I was completely blown away a few weeks ago, when I took a look at Casserole's blog, to see a post about her collaboration with her four year old daughter, Liv. After being inspired by Tootsie and Grace and all the fun I have with Gracie, Anne (that would be Casserole) sat down with her daughter and the two of them created the cutest little stuffed kitty named Mittens, which Casserole blogged about here. The pattern was drawn by Liv, who also chose the fabrics and did the kitty stuffing.

The end result was this adorable stuffed kitten. Now, I took a look at that cat and thought "aaaawwwww!" because seriously, how cute? But then I took a look at Liv's original drawing of Mittens and though... "AAAAWWWW"

... because seriously, how CUTE?

I've been wanting to add custom illustrations to Tootsie and Grace because, while Gracie's pictures are the cutest pictures on the planet (says her mother), other parents might just like their own kids artwork better. I can't blame them, of course!

Thus began my secret project (although Anne actually did know that something was up, as I asked for permission to steal pictures from her blog) of creating a custom illustration based on another child's work, just to see if I could. Frankly, I think this is one of my best illustrations to date. And doesn't Mittens look fabulous as a notecard?

And as a set of 8 gift tags?

And a scrap booking tag?

I sure do.

Coming soon to Tootsie and Grace: Custom Cuteness Illustrations featuring your own child's artwork. There will be two packages to choose from.

The Standard includes:

1 custom illustration
1 professional print (perfect for friends and family)
1 note card with coordinating envelope

The Deluxe includes:
1 custom Illustration
2 professional prints
1 3 x 5 in. scrap booking tag (perfect for a baby book, scrap book or as a gift tag)
1 note card with coordinating envelope
1 set of 8 gift tags, measuring 3 x 3 in.

All prints, cards and gift tags come come with a little bit of info about the illustration. And all prints are signed by me, with room for your own child's signature, as well. Everything is packaged beautifully as well as protected by clear cello sleeves.

So, Anne, you have a deluxe package in the mail and I REALLY hope you and Liv like it!!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Light Summer Reading

I love getting packages in the mail. I think that is the reason I love Etsy so much. Sure, the handmade element is wonderful... but doesn't it just feel fabulous when you open the mail and there is a lovely package just for you? Of course, 99% of them are ordered by me, for me... but packages in the mail are wonderful just the same.

The other day, I got two packages in the mail. Both books, and both just absolutely adorable.

For Gracie and Annelie, I bought Animal Alphabet by Dave Chow and Marcyanna Parzych, which is a sweet and simple alphabet book illustrated with the most charming animals you will ever see. Gracie instantly fell in love and spent quite a good deal of her time pouring over her present and grinning at the animals. She is no stranger to the artwork, though. A few readers have been around since the beginning of my blog, and might remember this post, which inspired my entire blog category titled, "Things that Make Me Smile."

I'm still smiling at the adorable animal alphabet prints my girls were given! This book features the entire collection of alphabet animals found in Marcyanna's shop, and is perfect for children of all ages.

If you want to learn more about the artists behind this book, be sure to visit Marcyanna's blog: The Art and Inspiration of Marcyanna.

For me, there was a tiny little book called Scuppernong and Muscadine, written and illustrated by Emily Martin of The Black Apple. I have always loved Emily's artwork and Etsy shop, but this book was something I just absolutely had to have. I'm a HUGE Edward Gorey fan, and Emily captured the magic of Gorey's style (minus Gorey's famous creep factor - which was good in this case) in this sweet story about two lovely little hedgehogs.

This book is the cutest little thing.

I'm glad Gracie has my same love for books. I hope this is something that can stay with her always. In my opinion, there are few things better than lazying about on a summer day, enjoying some light summer reading.

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Surreal Life (of a three year old)

Oh the joys of being three!

I saw this trivia generator on the blog The Adventures of KJ and the Dreamy Giraffe (in which it was cleverly used as her 7 Interesting Facts trivia) and I thought it was hilarious... and perfectly fitting for Gracie. Anyone who has ever had a conversation with a three year old, knows perfectly just how surreal their little brains are. Like Salvador Dali and Barney having a picnic on acid.

Gracie is very verbal for her age. And she is very precocious... but about 80% of the time she makes no sense whatsoever. Sometimes I just look at her (bewildered expression on my face) and imagine that her brain is that of a short-circuiting robot going: SYSTEM MALFUNCTION! SYSTEM MALFUNCTION! RED ALERT! RED ALERT!

The other day, we went to the front office of our apartment complex to rent a movie and Gracie said to the complex manager as she got cozy in the leather chair, "Hey, I have something to tell you."
"And what would that be, Gracie?" he politely asked (he gets the biggest kick out of her).
No one expected her to shoot him a look as if he was completely crazy and emphatically announce, "I already told you!!!"
But she did.


And of course, the conversation she had with me yesterday, about how I was once a little baby living in her tummy, ended up getting so weird I finally had to end it because my brain literally hurt from the exhaustion. Because there were, of course, about 108 similar conversations going on between us within the several hours prior. All absurd, all nonsensical, all completely surreal.

Kids are such a kick, aren't they?

Monday, July 7, 2008

Gritty Dirty Kiddie Pools and The Joys of Summer

There is something about summer and bright vinyl kiddie pools filled with about three inches of cold water and about 2 inches of dead grass, that makes me long for the summers of my childhood.

Remember those days? I think the best thing about having kids (besides the tantrums, the attitude and the constant crying and meltdowns, of course) is getting to relive all the best moments of your own childhood through them. I don't quite remember what is so appealing about sitting in a dirty puddle of water, but something was obviously appealing as I spent quite a good deal of my life as a preschooler sitting in one.

Here I am, circa 1985, a fierce little basketballer (or would that be
water polo player?) in my own kiddie pool with my brother.

And now that I have two daughters of my own, they will probably spend quite a good deal of their lives as preschoolers sitting in them, too. Gracie and Annelie are more than happy to oblige, of course. They know just what that appeal is. Unfortunately, instead of a grassy backyard, they have had to put up with dirt. So, instead of 2 inches of itchy, dead grass floating all around them...

... they get about 2 inches of mud and rocks. Which they are more than happy with, as that means they get bath time immediately after pool time.

For a one year old and a three year old, that is like winning the lottery. As for me-- well, its nice to be able to kick my feet up, sit back and watch my kids just be kids as they splash in their gritty, dirty kiddie pool, making childhood memories of their own.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Through the Viewfinder

I have a new found love affair with Through the Viewfinder photography. This type of photography is when you take a picture of any subject through the viewfinder of a camera with another camera. The result is stunning! Pictures end up with a dreamy, romantic and vintage feel, and the effect is like nothing I have seen before in photography.

I had a dream the other night that Annelie was jealous of Tootsie and Grace, my collaborative Etsy shop with three-year old Gracie. Of course, 16 month old Annelie is completely unaware of Tootsie and Grace and therefore not jealous at all. In my dream, however, she told me that she wanted to have a collaborative shop with me as well and her medium of choice was photography. So, Annelie was handed the camera, took gorgeous photos, and then I used Photoshop to turn them into beautiful Viewfinder photographs. Our shop was a huge hit. It was wonderful.

When I woke up, I just couldn't stop laughing at the absurdity. But then I decided to see if maybe, just maybe my dream was a sign to let my art prodigy 16 month old try her hands at being a photographic genius. I handed over my camera, which she immediately started chewing on, but then with a little guidance from me, I helped her take some photos. Using my photo editing software, I added the elements to make her photographs into Viewfinder photos.

"Messy Living Room"

"Diaper Wipes"

"Gracie goes to Mardi Gras"

The end result is... well, a little bit better than the originals. But I don't think her pictures are quite inspired enough for us to become a huge Etsy hit. I think I'll wait on the Mom and Daughter shop for the time being!

I'd love to share my favorite Through the Viewfinder Photographers and a sample of their work, so you can see what the pros look like!

The first shop I'd like to feature is Susannah Tucker Photography. Her work is just so lovely and dreamy and romantic and would bring such beautiful touch to any space.

My Lovely

Sweet Spring

Up... Up... and Away

You can find these beautiful photographs at

Citrus Tree Designs has such a lovely collection of Viewfinder photographs, but I think these animal ones are so adorable! I can just see the coolest nursery on the planet designed with these photographs as the focal point.

The Overseer

Striped Pajamas

Mary's Lost One

You can find this shop at

I adore the bright, candy colors in the photographs found in Scarlet Beautiful 2. They are so cheerful and sweet, especially the cupcakes!

Burano Italy Houses

Cupcake Sprinkles


You can find these photographs and a large selection of others, at

I hope you enjoy these as much as I do!

And if Annelie suddenly becomes a prodigy with a camera, and I actually figure out how to make her photographs look as stunning as these true artists above, I'll be sure and let you know!

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