Thursday, April 30, 2009

Sophia VonMeowderkitten and an Unexpected Muse

Sophie in the Springtime 8 x 10 and 11 x 14 print

I love cats. Love them. Until I was married, I had always had kittens and cats to cuddle up with. Oh how I miss those cats. We don't have a cat at the moment. Will keeps promising me a kitten, but Annelie is the Queen of Terror and I don't dare bring an innocent little furball into our house until Annelie learns that tails are not for pulling and necks are not handles for lifting.

When I was visiting Holly the other day, I got to meet my muse... in the form of a furry little feline named Pink. Pink is the cuddliest cat ever. None of that playful biting or perpetual clawing. She curled up with me every single night and I couldn't have been happier. Of course, I did wake up every morning to Pink, perched right next to my head, with her leg up in the air as she groomed her privates... but still. Waking up to a grooming cat is better than waking up to no cat at all.

All I've been able to sketch, since coming back from Portland, is cats. And channeling my muse has brought around my latest collection (though I only have three finished pictures to show you now) featuring Sophia VonMeowderkitten - please call her Sophie - as she travels the world and lives her life.

Sophie in the Cherry Blossoms 8 x 10 print
Sophie in Paris 8 x 10 print

I think Sophie is pretty darned cute. I had a Siamese cat named Sophie when I was little. She was so sweet and this Sophie is a lovely namesake, I think!

And my prints look super cute virtually framed in a virtual room!

Notice anything different with these pictures, compared to the other illustrations in my shop? For the first time, I haven't been using the entire paper for my illustration. I've been inspired by Lauren Alexander, the lovely and talented watercolorist, who frequently blogs about new ways to challenge herself as she creates new illustrations.

The Hidden Treasure

After reading her blog post from earlier this week, where she created a composition without touching the edges of her paper, I wanted to give it a try. I'm really pleased with the result!

I hope you all love Sophie!


Monday, April 27, 2009

A Gift to Cherish Always...

My big brother celebrated his 30th birthday the other day (happy birthday, Dan!). And I thought it funny and appropriate that I stumbled across this picture I had drawn for him (actually, I think I only just traced it) when we were still kids.

It says:

To Danny
When I grow up and I'm famous, you'll look back at this picture and enjoy having a free picture from me
Love Marisa Myers
age 11

Wow, what a lucky brother I have. And yes, I was that big of a pain-in-the-rear in person as I was on paper. That's what little sisters are for, right?

Happy Birthday, Dan, and I'll be sure to frame this picture for you, so you can admire it always, okay?


Friday, April 24, 2009

Oh Winklepots Korker Bows, How I Love Thee... and a Giveaway!

Its no secret that I have a little Winklepots korker bow obsession. Just look at any number of photos of my girls featured on this blog and the bows are everywhere.

My girls have this rotten habit of pulling out hair accessories, but these korkers are no-fail in our household. Attached to metal French hair clips, my girls can't figure out how to get them out of their hair. Hurray!

Plus, Holly always offers a buy 2 sets for $12 deal, which is perfect for gals like me, who can't decide which set to choose (might as well buy all of them!).

To date, I have 11 sets of bows and 9 single korkers, lovingly made by Holly, and I'm not done yet. I just can't get enough and she gave me a sneak peek at the new ribbons she bought while I was visiting her this past weekend... they gave me shivers of delight, they are just that fabulous.

I was soooo happy when Holly sat me down, the movie 27 Dresses playing in the background (I love that movie!), and taught me how to make korkers of my own.

Lets just say that I have a new found appreciation for the work Holly puts into each of her korker bow sets. All ribbons are hand-curled, hand-assembled, and hand-stitched to ensure durability.

They aren't easy and they are very time consuming. I was more than happy to pay for them before and now I'm even more happy to pay for them, because while I had fun, I'll leave the hard stuff for Holly!

Here is a little sample of the mass quantities of korkers that we have hanging on Gracie and Annelie's hairbow holder....

What can I say? I love 'em.

But whats in it for you, you might be asking yourself. Well, I made two french clip korker bows just for you, my dear readers. Its time for another giveaway and there will be two winners this time.

Heres how to win:

Hop off to Holly's shop {click here!!} take a look around, and then come back and give us the name of your favorite item in her shop.

Leave a way for me to contact you, either by email or Etsy shop.

Also, please let me know which korker you would like to win from the choices below:

But that's not all... I'll be slipping some surprise items from my Elegant Paperie shop, into the packages for the winners, just so they have all sorts of cute things to brighten their day.

Looking to add multiple entries? Shout this giveaway out to everyone you know, via Twitter, Facebook, or on your own blog. Let me know how you promoted this giveaway and I'll add more entries to the pot. Just leave me the link in a comment here, so I'll be able to count it.

Max 4 entries per person. Winners will be announced on Friday, May 1st, so please be sure I have a way to contact you!


Thursday, April 23, 2009

You Haven't Been To Portland Till You've Been To Darcelle's

You haven't been to Portland till you've been to Darcelle's... that isn't actually the motto, but perhaps it should be because its true.

Darcelle VX & Company was pure fun and entertainment. They already have a motto, though: That's No Lady! That's Darcelle! - which is also true, as Darcelle is actually a 78 year old grandpa in fishnet stockings, a glittery sequined dress and quite a lot of makeup, singing along with show tunes in her own Broadway musical and comedy drag revue.

Hits from Chicago, like the Cell Block Tango, When You're Good To Mama and I Can't Do It Alone are just better when lip-synched by lovely ladies with luscious curves and an Adam's apple.

Rawr! Go Tina!

You Gotta Have a Gimmick from Gypsy... I thought this gimmick was pretty great. Especially when she played her trumpet with an uh... and an uh... and an uh... uh... uh.

A root, a toot, a toodli-a-da to toot toot toot
Bette showed us her legs and she shimmied along to The Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.

And I'm not gonna lie... I have never in my life looked as good as this when donning a tiger print dress and feather boa.

This Las Vegas-style cabaret has been entertaining show-tune humming, drag-loving gals like me for over 37 years and is still going strong. Leave it to Holly to take me out to a drag show on my first trip to Portland.

In the Portland area and looking for a fun night out? Be sure to visit Darcelle's!

208 N.W. Third Avenue
Portland, Oregon

Oh, and if you go to the late show... you might want to stay after for the male strippers at midnight... Holly and I didn't stay for that, so if you go, be sure to let me know how it was!


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I'm Even Hotter Up Close

I Am Even Hotter Up Close - Women's tee

Hee hee, nice title to this post, don'tcha think?

Well, I'm back and I had an AWESOME time in Portland visiting Holly (aka Winklepots). Hopefully this time next year I'll be blogging about me, Will and the girls moving to Oregon, because it is a place Will and I have always talked about moving to, and after this past week we want to get there as fast as we can. Portland is FABULOUS! And Holly and her family are even better. Best. Trip. Ever.

At the moment, I'm just unwinding from my vacation and unpacking my suitcase. Traveling takes a lot out of me. But before I go, check out the shirts in Holly's shop... and see if you can guess who the model is.

One Odd Bird - Women's tee

Blue Bird in the Cherry Blossoms - Women's tee

Have you guessed yet?

I'll give you a hint: Its me!

Okay, that wasn't much of a hint. But Holly's shirts are even cuter up close - I have a couple of them and I always get tons of compliments when I'm wearing them because they are so cute.

I have a bunch of Portland related posts coming up, as well as a GIVEAWAY which I'm going to be putting up on Friday - so moms with daughters: be sure to check back because you wont want to miss this one!


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I'm Leaving, On a Jet Plane...

Airplane Print - 8 1/2 x 11

As if I haven't already been spoiled enough since my MIL came into town a few weeks ago - from a trip to New Orleans to enormous quantities of Victoria Sponge (with a raspberry jam and butter cream center and a lemon glaze on top - YUM!)... and not to mention that she has this unexplainable compulsion to clean my house, requesting that I just put my feet up and eat bon-bons all day long (I'm kidding on the bon-bons; I'm not kidding on the cleaning compulsion... seriously. I love it)

-- But now, I have a plane ticket for Portland, Oregon, leaving tomorrow afternoon, to visit HOLLY (aka Winklepots, aka my sister from another mister, aka my twin) as a belated birthday present.

ACEO - Troutdale, Oregon Series

I am very, very excited, in case you were wondering. Its gonna be awesome.

So until then, I'm just packing my bags, getting ready to go and I wont be back until next week.

St. John's Bridge T-Shirt

Design by COLOSSO

The Crane Gang
Handpainted T-Shirt

Adios, sayonara, and I hope you have a great week!


Monday, April 13, 2009

The Perfect Planner

Remember my New Year's resolution to keep myself organized?

Umm... apparently I didn't, as I'm still as much of a disorganized mess as I was a few months ago. But New Year's resolutions are made to be broken and so naturally, I broke mine.

Still, the disorganization is driving me nuts, so I'm trying again.

I loved that planning binder I put together {blogged about here} but it wasn't really working out for me. The binder was too bulky and my planning pages were a little too involved and I struggled to keep up with it. Not to mention that I wasn't sticking with my Weight Watchers diet so the daily food journal section was left empty every day.

I had the suggestion from Jackie, from JLYarnworks to take my pages to an office supply store and have them spiral bound, so about a week ago, I printed up some new pages - ones that are a lot more realistic as far as achieving my daily goals - and had them bound at Office Max. I made a cover page and back page with scrapbook paper and some pictures that I printed from my computer, and had them laminated so that my little planner would have a nice cover and be more durable.

I only made enough for two months, because I might need to adjust my pages again, in order to match with my life, but the next one I make will be bigger and have more pages. The cost to have it done was only $5, including the laminated pages and the spiral binding. It also only took about an hour to put the pages together and print them up.

Here is a sample of my pages:

I made sure to add time for the kids. Running a business from home is wonderful, but I always need to make sure that I'm giving my girls the attention they deserve each day.

Most of the days are the same, but I changed the date at the top of the page, and moved a few things around so I'm not doing the same old thing every single day. I just made up one page in a Word document, and then copied and pasted it 6 times, added a different day of the week to the top and then moved things around to suit my daily needs. Then, as I printed each week, I just changed the dates.

And look! I added a section for me to include my book writing progress. Remember in November, when I spent the month participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)? Well, after completing 50,000 words in one month, I sort of let my book fall by the wayside. I'm determined to get it finished and now I have a daily reminder.

And the best part is that I'm actually filling the pages and getting my daily goals reached. Hurray. I love the more organized version of me. She is less stressed and doesn't yell as much.



Friday, April 10, 2009

Illustration Friday: Fleeting

Peony and the Prince
11 x 14

For a fleeting moment, the frog prince wistfully thought about how much easier his life would be if he were to stay a frog forever. But alas, reality was calling and the fairy was ready to change him back.

Turn this frog
Back into a man!

Here is my finally finished illustration, just in time for Illustration Friday's topic of Fleeting.

I love this little frog prince!

Thanks for all of your support, my lovely bloggers. I was so frustrated with this illustration yesterday and was all set to give up after ruining page after page of drawing paper. But after a nice cup of tea and the rest of those little cupcakes (which, as it turns out judging by my waistline, were not fat-free after all), I was able to sit down with a clear head and finish!

Also, I'm in an interview feature today, this time on Holly's blog over at Winklepots and Random Thoughts (one of my favorite blogs, by one of my favorite peeps), so go on by and check it out here:

Happy Friday!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Rest In Pieces

Things have been looking pretty grim in the Hopkins household lately... well, for my new illustrations at least, which have all been buried at the bottom of the garbage can after being ripped to shreds and crumpled.

I've been having an off week. Everything, EVERYTHING I try to illustrate just doesn't go the way it should and I have been tearing my hair out.

What started out as an innocent enough sketch, has now turned into The Picture Which Shall Not Be Illustrated, and has met the Wrath of Marisa numerous times. I'm not sure who's the victor here... I'm not thinking it is me... and it certainly isn't the many pages of paper at the bottom of the bin.

But I'm extraordinarily stubborn and I wont let that stinking illustration defeat me. So, one day I'll be able to show you The Picture Which Shall Not Be Illustrated. And hopefully by then, it will actually be illustrated, and not just a series of sketches and crumpled bits of garbage.

*sigh* In the meantime, I'll just be tearing my hair out and stomping my feet in frustration.

I hope you are all having a more productive time than me!


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Itsy Bitsy Easter Cupcakes

I usually forget to celebrate a holiday with the girls until about a month or so after the fact. I know. I'm terrible. Last years Easter Egg dyeing took place 2 weeks after Easter, our Halloween cookies weren't baked until November, and I skipped decorations for Thanksgiving and Christmas altogether.

In fact, we had spaghetti for Thanksgiving dinner, and we never even bought a Christmas tree. Oops.

I look forward to the day when the girls start school, so that they can do all of the holiday arts and crafts there, and not have to worry about missing everything just because their mom forgot to buy a calendar again.

Now, yesterday, however.... I REMEMBERED TO MAKE EASTER CUPCAKES! Hurray for me. I'm pretty darned proud of myself. They turned out pretty cute, too. And delicious, although I can't take the credit for that since I just used Funfetti cake with Betty Crocker frosting.

Now, I'm no professional cupcake decorator, (have you seen that cupcake cookbook called Hello, Cupcake! I want it!!) but I was able to figure out how to make an Easter bunny for each girl. They were pretty excited to eat their bunnies.

And then I got bored of making all of the Eggs-in-Grass cupcakes so I just went crazy with the colored frosting.... I had 60 mini cupcakes to decorate, after all.

And nearly 60 cupcakes to eat as well.

The best part about making mini-cupcakes is that you don't gain a single lb. from eating them.


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